Court intervention postpones closure of Jerusalem youth rehabilitation center

Health Ministry and Jerusalem Municipality agree to keep Lifta Detoxification Center open until end of year, as ministry searches for new operator.

A troubled teen drug user [Illustrative]. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
A troubled teen drug user [Illustrative].
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Following an emergency court petition filed by an NGO earlier this week, plans to close a Jerusalem drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for addicted youth have been postponed until at least the end of the year.
Lifta Detoxification Center, a 23-year-old facility located near the western entrance to the city that treats patients between the ages of 14 and 21, was scheduled to be shut down this year due to its NIS 500,000 deficit.
Compounded by its ongoing inability to meet the Health Ministry’s minimum standards of operation, and treatment of non-Jerusalem residents, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and the ministry agreed close the center two months ago.
While Dr. Paula Roshka, the ministry’s addictions department director, requested to extend the center’s contract during a Knesset meeting in August, the municipality said it wanted to move its patients to more compliant and stable facilities.
However, after reviewing the appeal from Tzahor, a Jerusalem NGO dedicated the public’s welfare, the court agreed on Tuesday to hear the case and postpone the closure until the end of the year.
In the meantime, the Health Ministry said it will issue a tender for a new operator to take over on January 1.
In 2011, Lifta also narrowly averted a forced closure when Barkat appealed to the government to keep it open.